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The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 PDF Print E-mail
(35 Votes)
Written by Govt. of India   
Saturday, 20 May 1961 00:00
6. Dowry to be for the benefit of the wife or her heirs –
(1) Where any dowry is received by any person other than the woman in connection with whose marriage it is given, that person shall transfer it to the woman-
(a) If the dowry was received before marriage, within [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.5 for "one year") three months] after the date of marriage, or
(b) If the dowry was received at the time of or after marriage, within [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.5 for "one year") three months] after the date of its receipt, or
(c) If the dowry was received when the woman was a minor, within [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.5 for "one year") three months] after she has attained the age of eighteen years. And pending such transfer, shall hold it in trust for the benefit of the woman.

(2) [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.5) If any person fails to transfer any property as required by sub section (1) within the time limit specified therefore, [(Note: Ins. by Act 43 of 1986, sec.5) or as required by sub section (3)] he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extended to two years or with fine [(Note: Subs. by Act 43 of 1986, sec.5) which shall not be less than five thousand rupees, but which may extend to ten thousand rupees] or with both.

(3) Where the woman entitled to any property under sub section (1) dies before receiving it, the heirs of the woman shall be entitled to claim it from the person holding it for the time being.
[(Note: Ins. by Act 43 of 1986, sec.5) Provided that where such woman dies within seven years of her marriage, otherwise than due to natural causes, such property shall,-
(a) If she has no children, be transferred to her parents, or
(b) If she has children, be transferred to such children and pending such transfer, be held intrust for such children.

(3A) [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.5) Where a person convicted under sub section (2) for failure to transfer any property as required by sub section (1) [(Note: Ins. by Act 43 of 1986, sec.5) or such section (3)] has not, before his conviction under that sub section, transferred such property to the woman entitled thereto or, as the case may be [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.5 for "one year") her heirs, parents or children] the court shall, in addition to awarding punishment under that sub section, direct , by order in writing that such person shall transfer the property to such woman or, as the case may be, [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.5 for "one year") her heirs, parents or children] within such period as may be specified in the order, and if such person fails to comply with the direction within the period so specified, an amount equal to the value of the property may be recovered from him as if it were a fine imposed by such court and paid to such woman or, as the case may be, [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.5 for "one year") her heirs, parents or children.]

(4) Nothing contained in this section shall effect the provisions of section 3 or section 4.

COMMENTS

(i) Since the woman had died issueless, the articles constituting dowry are to be returned to her parents and not to her husband; Rajeev v. Ram Kishan Jaiswal, 1994 Cri. LJ NOC 255 (All).
(ii) The wife had died within less than three months of her marriage, therefore not leaving behind any issue and the contention of the husband that be was the heir of the dowry articles was negatived and dowry articles were transferred to the parents of the wife; Prithichan v. Des Raj Bansal, II (1990) DMC 368 P & H; See also Manas Kumar Dutt v. Alok Dutta, II (1990) DMC 115 (Ori).
(iii) Dowry items are required to be transferred to the parents and not to husband of the deceased; Pradeep Kumar v. State of Punjab, 1990 (1) CC Cases 594.

7. Cognizance of offences –
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),-
(a) No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence under this Act.
(b) No court shall take cognizance of an offence under this Act except upon-
(i) Its own knowledge or a police report of the facts which constitute such offence, or
(ii) A complaint by the person aggrieved by the offence or a parent or other relative of such person, or by nay recognized welfare institution or organisation.
(c) It shall be lawful for a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class to pass any sentence authorised by this Act on any person convicted of an offence under this Act.

Explanation - For the purpose of this sub section, "recognized welfare institution or organisation" means a social welfare institution or organisation recognized in this behalf by the Central or State Government.

(2) Nothing in Chapter XXXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) shall apply to any offence punishable under this Act.

(3) [(Note: Ins. by Act 43 of 1986, sec.6) Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, a statement made by the person aggrieved by the offence shall not subject such person to a prosecution under this Act.]

COMMENTS

(i) The point of time at which the legality of cognizance is to be judged is the time when cognizance is actually taken; M.L. Sethi v. R.P. Kapur, AIR 1967 SC 528.
(ii) The expression 'to take cognizance' has not been defined in this Act nor in the Criminal Procedure Code. The word 'Cognizance' is however, used in the Code to indicate the point when the Magistrate takes judicial notice of an offence. It is a word of indefinite import and is perhaps not always used in exactly the same sense; Darshan Singh v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1971 SC 2372.
(iii) Taking cognizance is a judicial action taken with a view eventually to prosecution and preliminary to the commencement of the inquiry or trail; Food Inspector v. Laxmi Narayan, 1969 Cut LT 863.
(iv) If a Magistrate has no jurisdiction to try an offence, he is not barred from taking cognizance of the offence; Jaddu v. State, AIR 1952 All 873. 8. Offence to be cognizable for certain purpose and to be non bailable and non-compoundable-

(1) The Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 (2 of 1974) shall apply to offences under this Act as if they were cognizable offences-
(a) for the purpose of investigation of such offences, and
(b) for the purpose of matter other than -
(i) matters referred to in section 42 of that Code, and
(ii) the arrest of a person without a warrant or without an order of a Magistrate.

(2) Every offence under this Act shall be [(Note: Subs. by Act 43 of 1986, sec.7) non-bailable] and non-compoundable.]

COMMENTS

The original section provided that the offences under the Act be non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable. The Amendment Act, 1984 made the offences cognizable and the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 is made applicable subject to the exceptions spelt out under the section. Further by the Amendment Act, 1986, the offences under the Act are made non-bailable also.